Skip to content


Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with HTTPS or Subversion.

Download ZIP
Lua + libUV + jIT = pure awesomesauce

Merge pull request #646 from luvit/update-lit

Update to luvi with conventions
latest commit 7a3318c5ff
Tim Caswell creationix authored


Luvit 2.0 - Node.JS for the Lua Inventor

Luvit 2.0 is a work in progress.

Linux Build Status Windows Build status

The original luvit (started 2011 by Tim Caswell) was a node.js-like programming environment, but using Luajit instead of V8. This meant a change in scripting language and a huge change in memory overhead. Speed between node and luvit was on the same order of magnatude with V8 being faster sometimes and Luajit faster sometimes. But memory was far more efficient in luvit. A small node.js program used about 20 times more memory than a similar luvit program. Luvit found it's niche in places like cloud monitoring and scripting on slower devices like Raspberry PIs. It had nearly identical APIs to node and thus was easy to learn for developers looking for something like node, but less memory hungry.

Luvit 2.0 is a reboot of this idea but far more flexible and configurable. The new system consists of many parts that can be used with or without the new luvit framework.

  • luv - New libUV bindings for Lua and Luajit.
  • luvi - Pre-compiled luajit + luv + openssl + zlib with zip asset bundling and self-executing apps.
  • lit - The Luvit Invention Toolkit is a multi-tool for building apps, running apps, installing, publishing, and serving libraries and apps. Contains luvi and can embed it in new apps.

These three projects offer layers of abstraction and control. You can use luv standalone with any lua based runtime. You can build apps with luvi, which includes luv, without using lit or Luvit. The lit tool embeds luvi and adds higher-level commands and workflows.

Luvit 2.0 is one more layer on top of this that implements the node.js APIs in lua as a collection of standalone lit libraries. Luvit can be used several different ways from lit.

Luvit 2.0 the Framework

You can use luvit as a metapackage that includes the luvit runtime as a library as well as including all the luvit standard library as recursive dependencies to your app. Simply declare luvit/luvit as a dependency to your lit app and use the luvit library in your main.lua and your standalone executable will live inside a luvit style environment.

A sample package.lua that includes luvit might look like the following:

return {
  name = "my-cool-app",
  version = "1.2.3",
  dependencies = {

And the luvit bootstrap in your app's main.lua will look something like:

-- Bootstrap the require system
local luvi = require('luvi')
luvi.bundle.register('require', "deps/require.lua")
local require = require('require')("bundle:main.lua")

-- Create a luvit powered main
return require('luvit')(function (...)
  -- Your app main logic starts here
end, ...)

Then when you build your app with lit make, luvit and all it's libraries will be included in your app. Also if you install your app's deps to disk using lit install, luvit and all it's deps will be included in the deps folder.

~/my-cool-app $ lit make
~/my-cool-app $ ./my-cool-app

You app will have it's own custom main, but will have all the same builtins and globals as luvit (plus whatever other globals and builtins you added).

Luvit 2.0 the Platform

You can build the luvit/luvit metapackage as an app directly to create the luvit command-line tool that mimics the node tool and lets you run arbitrary lua scripts.

curl -L >
lit make
sudo install luvit /usr/local/bin

This works much like the original luvit platform.

Luvit 2.0 the Library

The individual packages that make up the luvit 2.0 metapackage can be used on their own without buying into the whole ecosystem. Perhaps you love the pretty-printer and and advanced readline repl but abhor callbacks and want to use coroutines instead. Just mix and match luvit libraries with other lit libraries in your app or library. Each component of the luvit metapackage can be used directly and will automatically pull in any inter-dependencies it needs.

For example, the creationix/rye app uses parts of luvit, but not it's globals and full set of modules.

return {
  name = "creationix/rye",
  private = true,
  version = "0.0.1",
  dependencies = {


This branch replaces luvit's backend with luvi. This means that most luvit development is now done in pure lua and doesn't require a build step to test.

First build and/or install luvi and put it somewhere in your path. This should work on Windows, OSX, or Linux. Windows binaries can usually be found at

Then grab the luvi-up branch of luvit.

git clone --branch luvi-up
cd luvit

Now configure luvi to run this app in dev mode:

export LUVI_APP=`pwd`/app

Or if you're on windows, use set to set the LUVI_APP environment variable to point to the app subfolder in luvit's clone.

Now, whenever you run luvi, it will act as if the code in app was zipped and appended to it's excutable (it's the bundle).

To actually build luvit, run the make command which is really just running luvi with some special flags telling it to bundle the luvit code and create a new binary.

LUVI_APP=app LUVI_TARGET=luvit luvi

To test your code, use the test target in the makefile or run the tests\run.lua file with luvit.

make test

Build Status

Luvit is an attempt to do something crazy by taking node.js' awesome architecture and dependencies and seeing how it fits in the Lua language.

This project is still under heavy development, but it's showing promise. In initial benchmarking with a hello world server, this is between 2 and 4 times faster than node.js. Version 0.5.0 is the latest release version.

Do you have a question/want to learn more? Make sure to check out the mailing list and drop by our IRC channel, #luvit on Freenode.

-- Load the http library
local HTTP = require("http")

-- Create a simple nodeJS style hello-world server
HTTP.createServer(function (req, res)
  local body = "Hello World\n"
  res:writeHead(200, {
    ["Content-Type"] = "text/plain",
    ["Content-Length"] = #body

-- Give a friendly message
print("Server listening at http://localhost:8080/")

Building from git

Grab a copy of the source code:

git clone --recursive

To use the gyp build system run:

cd luvit
git submodule update --init --recursive
make -C out
tools/ test

To use the Makefile build system (for embedded systems without python) run:

cd luvit
make test


Luvit contains an extremely useful debug API. Lua contains a stack which is used to manipulate the virtual machine and return values to 'C'. It is often very useful to display this stack to aid in debugging. In fact, this API is accessible via C or from Lua.



Displays a backtrace of the current Lua state. Useful when an error happens and you want to get a call stack.

example output:

Lua stack backtrace: error
    in Lua code at luvit/tests/test-crypto.lua:69 fn()
    in Lua code at luvit/lib/luvit/module.lua:67 myloadfile()
    in Lua code at luvit/lib/luvit/luvit.lua:285 (null)()
    in native code
    in Lua code at luvit/lib/luvit/luvit.lua:185 (null)()
    in native code
    in Lua code at [string "    local path = require('uv_native').execpat..."]:1 (null)()


luv_lua_debug_stackdump(L, "a message");

Stackdump is extremly useful from within C modules.



Supports the following commands:

  • quit
  • exit
  • break
  • clear
  • clearall
  • trace
  • bt

The debugger will execute any arbitrary Lua statement by default.


A static library is generated when compiling Luvit. This allows for easy embedding into other projects. LuaJIT, libuv, and all other dependencies are included.

#include <string.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <limits.h> /* PATH_MAX */

#include "lua.h"
#include "lualib.h"
#include "lauxlib.h"

#ifndef WIN32
#include <pthread.h>
#include "uv.h"

#include "luvit.h"
#include "luvit_init.h"
#include "luv.h"

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
  lua_State *L;
  uv_loop_t *loop;

  argv = uv_setup_args(argc, argv);

  L = luaL_newstate();
  if (L == NULL) {
    fprintf(stderr, "luaL_newstate has failed\n");
    return 1;


  loop = uv_default_loop();



  if (luvit_init(L, loop, argc, argv)) {
    fprintf(stderr, "luvit_init has failed\n");
    return 1;

  ... Run a luvit file from memory or disk ...
  ...    or call uv_run ...

  return 0;
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.